COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Ranney School (Tinton Falls, N.J.) wing Scottie Lewis isn’t staging some sort of mental redemption tour this weekend at USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Minicamp after failing to make the Under-18 National Team in July.
Same with his teammate Bryan Antoine, whose post-U18 cut perspective wasn’t so much snub as it was motivation.
“I played well that week and I just didn’t make it,” said Antoine, a shooting guard who is ranked No. 9 overall in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25 for 2019. “I knew I’d get a chance to come back here now and do what I do again. It’s a lot different this time.”
It’s not an excuse, and certainly not the reason they didn’t make the U18 team, but Antoine and Lewis conceded there’s a difference mentally in playing as uncommitted recruits and playing with your collegiate decision out of the way.
Both players were uncommitted when they were cut, and since then Antoine committed to Villanova and Lewis committed to Florida.
Lewis and Antoine were easily two of the best backcourt players at the Minicamp, efficiently knocking down shots, competing defensively and finishing in the lane.
“When you’re uncommitted it can be a distraction,” Antoine said. “Just with constantly texting coaches back and having to think about where you want to go. It’s different. I like it this way better.”
Lewis, who is ranked No. 15 overall in the Chosen 25, said with his decision out of the way he’s more focused on every aspect of the game.
“I don’t worry about what’s going on off the court anymore; I used to do that a lot,” he said. “Now I worry about doing the little things and my teammates because that’s what makes the biggest difference. That will only help me with the season about to start.”
Last season Antoine and Lewis led the Panthers to their first Shore Conference Tournament title.
Antoine took it a step further and said that playing against the elite competition all weekend at the Minicamp would better prepare them for college.
“Most of the guys here are gonna be stars in college,” Antoine said. “Any time you get the chance to play against this level of players it’s helping you elevate your game. I always want to play against the best for that reason. It’s not about proving anything out here, it’s just about getting better.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY